The FBI has issued a press release about a 3-day operation that claims to have “recovered” 69 child prostitutes.
The operation included enforcement actions in 40 cities across 34 FBI divisions around the country and led to the recovery of 69 children who were being victimized through prostitution. Additionally, nearly 885 others, including 99 pimps, were arrested on state and local charges.
The release then goes on to explain that the local charges may be supplemented with federal obscenity charges.
While an impressive 885 arrests were made, the release goes on to say that the task force has only landed 625 convictions in its entire seven year history, so one can presume that the majority of those arrested in this operation will ultimately not be convicted of any serious crime, much less trafficking in child prostitutes.
Although it is certainly an honorable mission to protect children from being used in the sex trade, some skepticism is warranted when it comes to claims by both law enforcement and organizations like National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Both entities, but especially the latter, are practiced at inflating the problem as well as their accomplishments to suit their own agenda.
According to the NCMEC:
An estimated 800,000 children are reported missing each year – more than 2,000 children every day. An estimated 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 10 boys will be sexually victimized before age 18.
Statements like this are carefully crafted to imply that every child is at risk for being abducted into child prostitution. The literal interpretation is that thousands of children in the U.S. disappear each day and hundreds of those are being sexually exploited (and yet a nationwide crackdown by 2100 personnel from 186 different law enforcement agencies netted only 69 of them?).
But the reality of the war on prostitution is not as it’s portrayed by the rescue industry. The statistics about child prostitution are intentionally inflated to garner public support for a mission that mainly targets adult sex workers.
According to a recent article by Joanna Chiu:
While the FBI’s Operation Innocence Lost is supposed to focus on the exploitation of minors, according to attorney Sienna Baskin from Urban Justice, “in the process [it] arrests hundreds of consensual adult sex workers.” Urban Justice’s Melissa Broudo also observes that the rate of sex worker arrests have risen during the past few years as a result of increased police and FBI activities:
In contrast to the rare child prostitute, adult prostitutes are numerous and easy prey for law enforcement trying to generate arrest statistics. Nearly all adult sex workers are repulsed by sexual exploitation of children, but by driving adult prostitution underground, rescue organizations and law enforcement agencies are sealing the fate of the children they claim to be concerned about. While those actually in the sex business are in the best position to detect pimping and exploitation of children, the aggressive crusade against them discourages them from reporting it. Who in the sex industry is going to report suspected abuse of children knowing that, by doing so, they will have to put their own freedom and livelihood at risk?
Make no mistake. The rescue industry, by targeting prostitution in general, are doing more harm than good when it comes to removing children from the sex trade. For that reason, one can only conclude that they are far more interested in advancing their own moral and political agenda than saving sexually abused children. Just another social crusade capitalizing on the slogan “for the children” without actually doing anything positive for children.